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Israel Urges International Effort on Iran

Israel's ambassador to the United States, Daniel Ayalon, says it is time for the international community, particularly Russia and the United Nations, to make a more coordinated effort to curb Iran's suspected support of terrorism and development of weapons of mass destruction.

Mr. Ayalon says Iran remains one of the strongest threats to peace in the Middle East. And he says Russia, which is helping Iran build nuclear reactors, can play a positive role in curtailing the threat. Iran and Russia say the nuclear cooperation program is for peaceful purposes. But the United States says the nuclear program could help Iran develop weapons of mass destruction.

Mr. Ayalon says so far Iran has faced few serious consequences from the international community for what he calls its nuclear and terrorist activities.

"I can tell you here that most of the terror activities and efforts are now being directed by inspiration of Iran through the help of Syria and their cronies in Lebanon where they are trying to infiltrate, sending materials, sending instructions," Mr. Ayalon. "Most of the finances come now via the Hezbollah to cells of Tanzim and al Aqsa brigades, terror organizations in the territories. There are also some attempts to recruit Israeli Arabs. This is a very, very major obstacle on the issue of terrorism. Certainly, we would like to see Russia using their leverage vis-à-vis Iran. I think that if Iran would face a unified international position against their activities in terror, and also on the proliferation issue of weapons of mass destruction, this is the only way to stop them."

Mr. Ayalon refused to comment on Palestinian elections, scheduled for January 9th, other than to say Palestinian voters will decide whether they want to pursue peace and stability or continue terrorism.

He made his comments at a discussion sponsored by the Israeli Project, a private organization to promote U.S.-Israeli relations.